January 6, 2013
SHOOTINGS AND GUNS: Reader John Dias emails:
In this mornings Baton Rouge Sunday Advocate we were reminded of the anniversary of a shooting massacre by Mark James Robert Essex that started late December 1971 and ended with his death eight days later. What struck me about this was that Essex used a Ruger .44 Magnum Carbine with a total capacity of 5 rounds (it uses a built-in tube magazine). With this (and a .38 caliber revolver), he killed 9 and injured 13. Many of the dead and injured were police officers.
Essex acted independently but had some previous affiliation with the Black Panthers and he undoubtedly got marksmanship training while in the navy. At one point he exchanged fire with a military helicopter and scored a hit on the transmission before being gunned down.
Just goes to show that a motivated unstable person doesn’t need a heck of a lot in the way of tools to do a lot of damage.
UPDATE: Various readers say the Ruger has a rotary magazine, not a tube. The point holds. No one would confuse it for an “assault weapon.”